Rep. Shuler Appointed to House Budget Committee

January 31st, 2011 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives No Responses
Rep. Shuler Appointed to House Budget Committee

Representative Heath Shuler has been appointed to serve on the powerful House Committee on the Budget.

“Our nation’s exploding debt has become the single greatest threat to America’s economic future,” Rep. Shuler said. “The Budget Committee in the 112th Congress will play a pivotal role in setting the fiscal course of our nation for next two years and, hopefully, for years to come. I look forward to using my position on the Committee to find common ground between Republicans and Democrats to balance our budget, cut wasteful spending, and restore fiscal discipline and restraint in Washington.”

The Budget Committee determines the country’s spending priorities and develops the annual federal budget. As co-chair of the fiscally responsible Blue Dog coalition, Rep. Shuler worked closely with members of the Budget Committee in the 111th Congress to establish pay-as-you-go, or PAYGO, rules that ensure that neither spending nor tax legislation increase the federal deficit. These rules dictated that new mandatory spending programs or tax cuts must be offset by an equal amount of mandatory spending cuts. PAYGO was largely responsible for the budget surplus under President Clinton in the late 1990s.

“Congress must live within its means today to ensure our children and grandchildren are not paying for our actions tomorrow,” Shuler continued. “Balancing our budget will not be simple or easy, and cannot be done by just one political party. We must work in a bipartisan fashion to craft a balanced budget that invests in our future and keep taxes low. I look forward to getting to work immediately my Budget Committee colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect America’s fiscal and economic security.”

In addition to the Committee on the Budget, Rep. Shuler serves on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Visit Rep. Shuler’s Website

Congressman Paul Ryan is the Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget:

Internet KILL Switch back on the table.

January 31st, 2011 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives No Responses
Internet KILL Switch back on the table.

Legislation granting the president internet-killing powers is to be re-introduced soon to a Senate committee, the proposal’s chief sponsor told Wired.com on Friday.

The resurgence of the so-called “kill switch” legislation came the same day Egyptians faced an internet blackout designed to counter massive demonstrations in that country.

The bill, which has bipartisan support, is being floated by Sen. Susan Collins, the Republican ranking member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The proposed legislation, which Collins said would not give the president the same power Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is exercising to quell dissent, sailed through the Homeland Security Committee in December but expired with the new Congress weeks later.

The bill is designed to protect against “significant” cyber threats before they cause damage, Collins said.

“My legislation would provide a mechanism for the government to work with the private sector in the event of a true cyber emergency,” Collins said in an e-mail Friday. “It would give our nation the best tools available to swiftly respond to a significant threat.”

The timing of when the legislation would be re-introduced was not immediately clear, as kinks to it are being worked out.

An aide to the Homeland Security committee described the bill as one that does not mandate the shuttering of the entire internet. Instead, it would authorize the president to demand turning off access to so-called “critical infrastructure” where necessary.

An example, the aide said, would require infrastructure connected to “the system that controls the floodgates to the Hoover dam” to cut its connection to the net if the government detected an imminent cyber attack.

What’s unclear, however, is how the government would have any idea when a cyber attack was imminent or why the operator wouldn’t shutter itself if it detected a looming attack.

About two dozen groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Center for Democracy & Technology, were skeptical enough to file an open letter opposing the idea. They are concerned that the measure, if it became law, might be used to censor the internet.

“It is imperative that cyber-security legislation not erode our rights,” (.pdf) the groups wrote last year to Congress.

A congressional white paper (.pdf) on the measure said the proposal prohibits the government from targeting websites for censorship “based solely on activities protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Oddly, that’s exactly the same language in the Patriot Act used to test whether the government can wiretap or investigate a person based on their political beliefs or statements.

Click here for the story

Rep. Shuler Introduces Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act

January 31st, 2011 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives 2 Responses
Rep. Shuler Introduces Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act

Representative Heath Shuler and Representative Jim Cooper introduced two bills aimed at reforming the Congressional redistricting process to lessen the divisive, partisan tone in Washington.

Shuler introduced the Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act, H.R. 453, which requires states to establish an independent, bipartisan commission to redraw congressional district lines every 10 years following the decennial census. An equal number of commissioners would be appointed by the minority and majority floor leaders in each state’s legislatures. The appointed commissioners would then elect, by majority vote, the commission chairperson. This legislation requires the commission to use geographical contiguity and compactness of district, rather than political affiliations and the impact redistricting will have on incumbent representatives, as criteria for redrawing district lines. If passed H.R. 453 would go into effect for the 2020 redistricting, not 2010.

“The American people should choose their representatives—not the other way around,” Rep. Shuler said. “The current system of gerrymandered districts has left a patchwork of highly-partisan, ideologically skewed Congressional districts, where Representatives are more beholden to their political party than the constituents they were elected to serve. While most Americans identify with the ideological center, too many of our congressional districts don’t reflect that. These gerrymandered districts often result in representatives from both extremes of the political spectrum being elected to Congress who cannot or will not work together for the benefit of all.”

Rep. Cooper introduced companion legislation to H.R. 453, the Redistricting Transparency Act, which requires all proposed redistricting plans to be available online for review and public comment prior to their adoption. This legislation will increase public participation and accountability in the redistricting process, set to begin in most states within in the next week.

“Together, these two pieces of legislation take steps to create a culture of bipartisanship that has been absent in Washington in recent years,” Rep. Shuler said. “If we are to work together in Washington to find solutions to the challenges facing our country, bipartisanship must start at home with the way our congressional districts are drawn. The result will be a system where the American people—not political parties—have the advantage in our political process.”

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Living in severely gerrymandered districts myself- NC12 and State NC32, I am the first one to raise my hand in support of redistricting reform. However, I’m not so sure this is the best way to go about it. What are your thoughts?

— Wendy
Find me on Facebook and Twitter

Bill Saves $617 Million In Taxpayer Dollars

January 30th, 2011 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives One Response
Bill Saves $617 Million In Taxpayer Dollars

U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx (NC-05)  voted to eliminate taxpayer funding for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.  The bill, H.R. 359, passed the House 239-160.  It came up for a vote under House Republicans’ YouCut program, which allows any American to weigh in on where to cut the federal budget.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 359 reduces federal spending by $617 million over the next ten years.

“Bankrolling presidential campaigns during an era of record budget deficits is not a good use of taxpayer dollars,” Foxx said. “Today the Congressional Budget Office projected a massive $1.5 trillion federal budget deficit.  In light of this, we’ve got to look everywhere we can in the budget for savings and the elimination of subsidized presidential electioneering is a common sense step.”

Foxx is an original cosponsor of H.R. 359, which completely eliminates taxpayer funding for the “Presidential Election Campaign Fund.”  This fund is used to finance presidential election campaigns and party conventions.  Any money remaining in the account would be transferred to the general fund of the Treasury Department.

House Republicans highlighted this bill in their YouCut program this week.  The web-based YouCut initiative allows concerned Americans to cast their vote for various budget-cutting options and this week H.R. 359 was the top vote getter.  For more information on the YouCut program and this week’s proposed budget cuts please visithttp://www.majorityleader.gov/YouCut/.

Visit Representative Foxx’s Website

Other North Carolina Representatives who voted on this bill was:

NC1- Rep. Butterfield (nay)
NC2- Rep. Ellmers (yea)
NC3- Rep. Jones (nay)
NC4- Rep. Price (nay)
NC5- Rep. Foxx (yea)
NC6- Rep. Coble (yea)
NC7- Rep. McIntyre (nay)
NC8- Rep. Kissell (nay)
NC9- Rep. Myrick (yea)
NC10- Rep. McHenry (yea)
NC11- Rep. Shuler (yea)
NC12- Rep. Watt (nay)
NC13- Rep. Miller (nay)

SB8: No Cap on Number of Charter Schools

January 29th, 2011 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives One Response
SB8: No Cap on Number of Charter Schools

It’s here! We are one step closer to having more educational freedom in North Carolina. State Senator Richard Stevens from Wake county introduced a bill this week to remove the cap on charter schools in North Carolina.

What is a Charter School?
Charter schools provide parents a choice in the education of their children — and it is a public choice. Public tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools. Local, state, and federal dollars follow the child to a charter school. The schools have open enrollment with no discrimination, no religious associations, and no tuition.

How much does it cost to attend a Charter School?
Charter Schools are tuition free. They are public schools and funding for the schools come from federal, state, and local taxes.

What are the requirements for acceptance into a charter school?
The only requirement to get into a charter school is the availability at the school in the requested grade. (from the Office of Charter Schools)

Currently, we have one hundred charter schools, mandated by current law. I, personally asked my Representatives locally why there was a cap, and the answer was that Democrats in control of the general assembly were not willing to co sponsor the legislation needed to lift the cap. With 100 counties in North Carolina, that would break down to one per county, but that is not true. Forsyth County has approximately five, Mecklenburg County has at least five, Wake County has at least ten- so minimally these three counties alone have over 17 additional schools, taking away from other counties. (Why would Democrats want to deter educational success?) Lifting the cap gives North Carolina the opportunity to have charter schools in all counties.

Eddie Goodall, president of N.C. Alliance for Public Charter Schools, agreed that there should be more accountability, and he added that it should be measured by improvement in school performance in a given year.

“The cap is one of the main problems for our state, but there are many more things we want to do. We want an independent charter school commission to oversee charter schools to make sure we have effective and quality charter schools,” he said.

“The only kind of cap there should be is a quality cap.” *

Read the bill for yourself. I believe this is a good start for our new general assembly. Ideally, I would also like to see tax credits or a well written voucher program- what are your thoughts?

– Wendy
Find me on Facebook and Twitter

Be sure to send Senator Stevens an email- Richard.Stevens@ncleg.net thanking him for introducing this bill!

The Co Sponsors are:
Austin M. Allran (Catawba, Iredell);
Tom Apodaca (Buncombe, Henderson, Polk);
Stan Bingham (Davidson, Guilford);
Peter S. Brunstetter (Forsyth);
Thom Goolsby (New Hanover);
Malcolm Graham (Mecklenburg); <– the one democrat!
Rick Gunn (Alamance, Caswell);
Ralph Hise (Avery, Haywood, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Yancey);
Neal Hunt (Wake);
Wesley Meredith (Bladen, Cumberland);
E. S. (Buck) Newton (Nash, Wilson);
Louis Pate (Greene, Pitt, Wayne);
David Rouzer (Johnston, Wayne);
Dan Soucek (Alexander, Ashe, Watauga, Wilkes);
Jerry W. Tillman (Montgomery, Randolph);
Tommy Tucker (Mecklenburg, Union)

McHenry Statement on FCIC Report

January 29th, 2011 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives No Responses
McHenry Statement on FCIC Report

Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs, issued the following remarks regarding the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission majority and minority reports:

“The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has been likened to the 1930’s investigation led by Ferdinand Pecora. However, this is no Pecora. Pecora resulted in a unified report with a unified narrative. The FCIC has fallen well short of unity.

“The fact that three differing opinions have emerged from a body of only ten commissioners brings into question the objectivity of the majority report. The subcommittee I lead intends to review these efforts and the process from which they resulted.”

originally posted January 27th

Find Congressman McHenry on Facebook and Twitter

HB11: No Postsecondary Education/Illegal Aliens

January 29th, 2011 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives 7 Responses
HB11: No Postsecondary Education/Illegal Aliens

NC House Representative George Cleveland (District 14, Onslow County) introduced a bill Thursday that would prohibit illegal aliens from attending North Carolina’s community college and universities. (This bill is on the calendar Monday, January 31.) You might remember the state community colleges board voting last year to admit illegal immigrants to classrooms if they graduated from a U.S. high school, pay out-of-state tuition and did not displace a citizen. This bill would reverse that.  Read the entire bill for yourself. All one and almost-a- half pages of it.

So there’s a large debate surrounding this topic. Opponents of this bill would say it’s not fair for students who had no say so in to their legal status because it is their parents who made the decision to emigrate here illegally and put them in our school system. What do you believe is the best way to solve that issue?

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– Wendy
Find me on Facebook and Twitter

Be sure to shoot Representative Cleveland an email thanking him for introducing this bill at George.Cleveland@ncleg.net!

Co Sponsors of this bill are: L. Brown;  Current;  Frye;  Guice;  Hager;  Iler;  Ingle;  JonesJordan;  Langdon;  McGee;

Sanderson;  Torbett;

Jones, Butterfield Letter To Secretary Mabus Urging Termination of OLF

January 29th, 2011 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives No Responses
Jones, Butterfield Letter To Secretary Mabus Urging Termination of OLF

Dear Secretary Mabus:

On January 28, 2011, the U.S. Navy announced that it would not initiate the NEPA process for east coast basing of the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) until at least 2014, and subsequently is suspending release of and stopping all work on the Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The release of the DEIS has been delayed since August 2009. In light of the uncertainty surrounding the east coast basing of the JSF and the operational necessity of the OLF, on behalf of our constituents we strongly request that you terminate the OLF DEIS immediately.

On April 9, 2008, the Navy published a Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register announcing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to assess environmental consequences of a new Outlying Landing Field (OLF) to support training and operations of East Coast Navy carrier aircraft. There are five site alternatives, including two in North Carolina: Sandbanks site in Gates County (First Congressional District) and Hales Lake site in Camden County (Third Congressional District). These communities have expressed strong opposition to the OLF at these sites due to potentially adverse environmental, economic, and quality-of-life impacts. We have supported these communities in their opposition throughout the NEPA process.

The NOI stated that an OLF was needed “to support the FCLP operations of carrier-

based fixed-wing aircraft squadrons stationed at and transient to NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia (F/A–18C Hornet and F/A–18E/F Super Hornet squadrons and Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS)), and NS Norfolk Chambers Field, Norfolk, Virginia (E–2C Hawkeye, C–2A Greyhound, and E–2C/C–2A FRS).” However, the latest announcement ties the operational necessity of the OLF to the basing of the JSF. The Navy’s originally stated operational need is no longer preeminent in the evaluation of the OLF, and is secondary to the JSF basing. Due to this change, the Navy should terminate the OLF DEIS.

Further, the Navy should not continue to subject affected communities to a drawn-out period of uncertainty. The DEIS was to be released in August 2009, but has been delayed while the Navy evaluates its East Coast Basing for the JSF. Until the most recent announcement, the Navy has not specified how long this delay would last. Our constituents in northeastern North Carolina are in a state of limbo due to this delay, and it is patently unfair to subject them to at least three more years of uncertainty. Such ambiguity has enormous effects on the economic development, social and emotional well-being of these individuals. Out of respect for these communities, the Navy should terminate the OLF DEIS.

In addition, the dire financial problems facing this country and the projected $1.5 trillion budget deficit requires that we limit spending only to items critical for the national security of this country. Given the delay of this project, it would appear the OLF is not a critical need.

North Carolina has a long and proud history of working closely with the military and we are committed to continuing that important tradition. We thank you for your consideration of this important request, and eagerly await your response.

From Kay Hagan:

“I am thrilled that the Navy is suspending and stopping work on the Outlying Landing Field Draft Environmental Impact Statement. We do not want an OLF in Northeastern North Carolina. The people I meet with are absolutely outraged at the prospect of an OLF in their backyards, and I have been working to prevent it. The Navy should thoroughly evaluate all existing OLFs and military airfields before even considering a new one, and this is exactly what Senator Burr and I required the Navy to do in our amendment to last year’s defense authorization bill. I will continue to make the case in Congress that the Navy must not build an OLF in Northeastern North Carolina.”

January 28th, Visit Representative Jones’ Website; Senator Hagan’s Website

Phil Berger On Taxes, Redistricting

January 29th, 2011 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives No Responses
Phil Berger On Taxes, Redistricting

Presumptive Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger also spoke with reporters last week (see Thom Tillis interview). As well as social issues and the budgeting process, he also commented on taxes:

“Increases in taxes are not something that we are going to have as part of what we deal with in the budget. Continuation of the so-called ‘temporary taxes’ is not something that will be part of our proposal. I’ve said it this way: We intend to keep the promise the Democrats made two years ago when they said that they were temporary taxes.”

Redistricting:

“One of the goals that we have is to draw maps that comply with the law, that will be approved under the Voting Rights Act, and that will be in place so that the state of North Carolina can conduct elections under the maps, drawn by the people who were elected by the voters in the recent election, in time that we don’t have to delay next year’s elections.”

and the UNC School System:

“It’s hard for me to say whether or not you’ll see going forward a perception amongst people outside as to whether or not the universities are getting a better deal or the K-12 education system is getting a better deal or community colleges are getting a better deal. It seems to me that we have an obligation to make sure that all three of those legs are properly funded and perform the function for which the people of North Carolina expect those institutions to exist.”

(read the full article)

Interview with House Speaker Thom Tillis

January 29th, 2011 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives No Responses
Interview with House Speaker Thom Tillis

RALEIGH — Newly elected Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius sat down with Carolina Journal reporters on Tuesday for a wide-ranging interview on the 2011-2012 legislative session. Excerpts from the interview are below:

On cooperation between the House and Senate on budgeting:

On when the session will wrap up:

On how the first week will pan out legislatively:

On legalizing video poker and having the government run it:

On eliminating the charter school cap:

On reducing the number of government-run boards and commissions:

On addressing underfunding of the state pension system:

On abortion-related bills:

On a marriage amendment:

On cooperation between the House and Senate on budgeting: “We are inviting the Senate to be actively engaged in all of our deliberations. We think that by doing that we can minimize the amount of time that will be required once the Senate ultimately gets [the budget], and virtually eliminate the need for conference.”

On when the session will wrap up:
“I was told as a speaker you need to be careful and not stake yourself out. There are a lot of things I’m going to stake myself out on, and one of them is that we need to get out of here sooner. We’re starting a month earlier than we normally have, so as far as I’m concerned we’ve gained a month just by organizing as quickly and starting … We want to get done and get out of here.”

On how the first week will pan out legislatively: “We have a 100-day agenda. We intend to fulfill the promises that were made in that 100-day agenda. Now, whether that is legislation that is filed and moved over the next two weeks, or begins to move in the 90th day of that agenda, with the goal of getting it introduced and moved, we’ll work that out as our legislative agenda takes shape, as we get a real understanding for what we need to do with the budget, what we need to do with redistricting, the capacity that we have to move the other bills and in what sequence. We’ve had people come out there and say, ‘You ran on jobs and the economy and redistricting, and now you’re going and talking about another agenda item.’ Although I want to be lean, the expectation that we would only pass two bills this cycle is probably not right. We will pass several hundred bills, and there will be far fewer introduced than in past sessions.”

On legalizing video poker and having the government run it: “We’ve got to take a look at it. We have a number of members in our caucus that are uncomfortable with it. We have a fair number of members who think that this is at least on the fringe of the whole idea of limited government and free market principles. So we’re going to have to have those very valid arguments weighed in the caucus and then in the committee process.”

On eliminating the charter school cap: “We will send a very clear message that we believe public charter schools are an important part of the options we provide families to get our kids educated, and to be in combination with continuing to make progress on our traditional public schools.”

On reducing the number of government-run boards and commissions: “I think that it is wise to reduce the number of boards and commissions, and it is intuitively obvious that we have too many of them. We’ve just grown. Some of them have a difficult time getting members, I understand … I haven’t seen the governor’s proposal. We applaud her for the thought process. But if we see boards and commissions that are more likely to promote free enterprise, business-friendly policy, we’ll have to take a look at that, because we may see that there are suggested for elimination that may have a real value.”

On addressing underfunding of the state pension system: “It’s part of our overall fiscal strategy. It is just bad management to leave that out there and to not fund it. The other question is, long term, how do we manage those decisions? To what extent do we have to look at alternatives to the current pension system? We’ll have people look at that.”

On abortion-related bills: “We have members in our caucus who have very strong feelings about those bills. We’re going to look at them and give them serious consideration. Again, it all has to be in balance … Those sorts of bills that we believe, first, will be of value to the expectant mother, and may also save a few lives, I don’t think that’s limiting abortion. We can’t, by law, limit abortions. What we can do is provide expectant mothers additional information that may cause them to exercise a choice that is beyond the only choice some people want or expect a mother to have.”

On a marriage amendment: “The marriage amendment is something else we’re looking at. We’re conferring with the Senate. It will be a product of our caucus, and I have encouraged all of our members to sit down and talk about our legislative agenda, make recommendations. You’ll see those recommendations come out over the next several weeks.”

David N. Bass is an associate editor of Carolina Journal. Find him on Twitter and Facebook.
Article originally posted January 28, 2011 on Carolina Journal.

Connect with House Speaker Tillis on Facebook, and Twitter

NC TEA Party takes no credit whatsoever for the writing of this article.